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So What's New in Digital Death?

The end of 2014 is a great excuse to look back and see what's new in Death. Digital Death. 


  • Intel acquires PasswordBox, which acquired Legacy Locker in November 2013. The previous acquisitions were: 
    • In July 2012 LifeEnsured was acquired by SecureSafe, formerly known as Data Inherit. 
    • In April 2012 SecureSafe acquired entrustet as well. 
  • The Knesset in Israel holds a discussion regarding Digital Estate.
    It is the first time the Knesset addresses this issue, and the first time a draft of a bill was presented here in this regard. 


"Removal of certain imagery

In order to respect the wishes of loved ones, Twitter will remove imagery of deceased individuals in certain circumstances. Immediate family members and other authorized individuals may request the removal of images or video of deceased individuals, from when critical injury occurs to the moments before or after death, by sending an e-mail to When reviewing such media removal requests, Twitter considers public interest factors such as the newsworthiness of the content and may not be able to honor every request".



  • Webpagefx come up with a new Digital Death info-graphics regarding Facebook and death.
    Till then, the international Digital Death community I'm part of has been using this animated video created at the beginning of 2012 by the Australian company 'Life Insurance Finder'. 


  • Michael Jackson died in 2009 and appears in a "live" performance on stage in Las Vegas on May 2014. Well, his hologram does.
    Prior to this, we've encountered Tupac who died in 1996 and performed in Coachella Festival in 2012, and Kurt Cobain who died in 1994 and performed in Guitar Hero in 2009.

I wonder if in the near future we shall see some more "live" performances by dead performers, and I also wonder if artists and celebrities will begin to leave instructions behind regarding their willingness - or lack of it - to keep on performing after their death. 


  • The first academic symposium entirely dedicated to Digital Death takes place, titled: Death Online Research SymposiumTill then, we've had several un-conferences.
    You're welcome to read my summary of it here: Day 1, Day 2.
  • During this symposium, the idea if using Augmented Reality with gravestones was presented for the first time. You can see a demo in this short video I made. 
    So far, gravestones were used in combination with QR bar-codes since 2008 (at least), and in 2010 an idea won a designing competition of using Bluetooth with gravestones, but to the best of my knowledge, that was never put into practice.
    It'll be interesting to see if Augmented Reality will actually be used in this regard. 

  • The Law Society of England and Wales publishes a press release urging people to Leave a digital legacy.
    Till then, the official blog of the USA government published a post in 2012 encouraging people to Write a Social Media Will


  • John Berlin uploads a short video to YouTube, asking Facebook to let him see the 'Look Back' video of his deceased son, Jessie. His video goes viral and in a day Facebook gets in touch with him, allows him to see Jessie's video, and later that month change their policy and allow everyone to request seeing the 'Look Back' video of a loved one who passed away. John uploads a second video, in which he thanks everyone who helped make this happenn.    

(Please note: approaching Facebook with a request to see a 'Look Back' video of a loved one who passed away means his or her profile will automatically be turned into a memorialized profile. Once this is done it can't be undone, so please be sure you want this to happen before making such a request. Of course, if the relevant profile has already been memorialized, this caution is irrelevant). 

If you think of other news which should have made it into this summary, please drop me a line via email: or via the Facebook page of the blog. 

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